DSSI / Shaun:

Everyone recognizes AM General for the really successful Humvee model, but what makes AM General a specialist when it comes to international military vehicle engineering?

AM General / Nguyen:

First of all, the Humvee is iconic and it was purposely designed and built for operations anywhere in the world, in any altitude and environment, so when we look at that, and when Humvee was launched in the early eighties, in the last 3 decades everyone has tried to to copy our approach and I don't think anyone's really ever gotten there completely, just by by the fact that volume speak for themselves. We have over 300,000 Humvees globally so our approach really is looking at it from the perspective of listening to our customers and helping them understand top innovation that meets their demands and we listen to them very closely.

Where we are today with the NXT 360, we've involved a Humvee over the last 3 decades based on our customer's requirement and inputs, and we wound up today with the NXT 360 ES that completely takes the the light tactical vehicle survivability aspect of the vehicle in that weight range, and the overall ability to to a completely different level, where you would have to go very big and very expensive to get even close to what we've unveiled this week.

DSSI / Shaun:

So looking at your NXT 360 ES Model, what makes it different from the standard model and some of the previous Humvees which have been on the market previously?

AM General / Nguyen

The previous Hummvee and the current production Humvee are built to the U. S. army's requirements, and we meet those requirements. As we've listened to and looked at the customer needs globally from a survivability perspective, they've told us that they want MRAP level protection in a light tactical vehicle; versus going through a heavier platform vehicle that's 22-23,000 pounds and only seats 4 people.

The evolutionary leap here from a technology perspective, is the NXT 360 base model and the NEXT 360 ES base model, from a kinetic and ballistic protection blast protection, they're actually the same, you get the same blast wrapability on the 360 and the ES model;

The ES model with the bolt on armor gives you higher level of kinetics threat protection from a STANAG level perspective and as we look at the NXT 360 and the NXT 360 ES; the 360 comes standard with a 205 horsepower V8 6.5 litre turbocharged diesel engine; whereas the ES comes with a 250 horsepower V8 6.5 liter engine; so greater horsepower and more torque at the higher GVW range;

Also on the ES model we add standard to long travel suspension for a really bright improvement and agility over terrain and then obviously comfort for the occupants in terms of ride quality and ride comfort; so those are kind of the key technical differences between the 360 versus the 360 ES. ABS also comes standard on the NXT 360 ES and electronics stability control.

DSSI / Shaun:

You mentioned that a lot of time is spent speaking with your customers and learning what they’re demands are. What can you tell us about the unique needs that they are looking for when it comes to a lightweight tactical model?

AM General / Nguyen:

That's where the NXT 360 comes in; but other demand signals from our customer is mobile artillery in a light package, today if you look at the global self propelled howitzer market space, they're either very very heavy, reaching 70-80 tons right at the 155 range and in a 105 range; typically 105 howitzers are typically put on heavy medium size trucks. Typically a 6×6 or a heavy 4×4 and that 18,000 to 25,000 pound range just because of the fact that the soft recoil technology employed by the rest of the market is still very traditional in terms of how it absorbs recoil, so those are the things that require a much larger truck.

One of the things that customers that we've engaged globally are asking is can you provide us a more agile, more mobile, more lighter system, that we're looking at in this heavier class range, and that's where the Humvee Hawkeye comes in.

And I think from a near threat perspective as the US; not only the US but globally, as the environment is now changing back to near threat, near peer type threats and competition, agility will lend itself to higher levels of survivability.

Also the hybrid soft recoil technology, that's really important, it's a hybrid soft recall technology that has been developed by Mantis group (our partner) it is really disruptive right now because no one else has it. It's actually a very simple system that has been developed and refined over many years, and we see that the ability for a 105 to be put on the back of a standard Humvee tells you something, that 14,100 pounds overall GVW and then applying that technology, that hybrid soft recoil technology onto a 155 system, that we put on a standard 6×6 LMTV without making any modifications to the frames or suspension, It's very telling it's very disruptive.

DSSI / Shaun:-

When we last spoke we spoke about technology transfer at the beginning of 2019; you mentioned your programs with the Turkish company Otokar and the Swiss company Mowag. What lessons have you learned since then in relation to technology transfer and working with local industry partners?

AM General / Nguyen:-

We continue to go down the path of listening to ultimately what the customer wants from a technology transfer perspective and it's really still a developing trend because each country will have its own unique vision of what they want and how they want to receive that.

But over the last year since we spoke we started working very closely with the government of Egypt and their Temsah-3 program which is a light tactical vehicle. We're providing them our automotive system for them to develop and field indigeounised and protect the vehicle for their internal use in Egypt. We continue talking to our customers about what they ultimately want to achieve from a technology transfer because every country is uniquely different and has different needs.

But the competitive advantage we have in general when it comes to that as AM General and as we look at our space within the tactical wheeled vehicle space is the ability for us to be really flexible and nimble to the customer's demands because we obviously own a large portion of our our intellectual property that gives us a greater flexibility and the ability to be nimble in meeting some of those requirements.

DSSI / Shaun:-

Thank you Nguyen, my last question is what can we expect from AM General in 2021?

AM General / Nguyen

We just unveiled here this week with the NXT 360 ES, what you'll see is just a continuation of us unveiling new and disruptive technologies, from survivability to electrification, to overall automotive system improvements from a light tactical vehicle perspective. We'll see some major movements on this self propelled howitzer front.

We’ll see news on our Humvee Hawkeye and the continued testing of the Brutus 155 so we'll be unveiling a lot of new things over the next year; like many OEMs we continue to develop new technologies internally and as we feel those are ready for public consumption to show; I'm confident you'll be one of the first to know.